Wage and Hour
The right to earn a living wage is one of the hallmarks of our nation’s history and culture. Today, there are a vast body of laws in the United States that protect citizens from being taken advantage of by corporations that put profits above the welfare of their workers.
The national standards for wages earned and hours an employee can work were established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), also known as the Wage and Hour Bill. In California, the labor code provides additional protection to ensure our workforce is fairly compensated.
If you believe your employer has not been paying proper wages or overtime pay, or has been forcing you to work off the clock, you may have grounds to take action against the employer. The attorneys of Skilling O’Leary have an intricate understanding of workplace discrimination and labor laws. We believe in upholding integrity in the workplace, and may be able to help you recover your lost wages.
Your Rights Under the Law
Originally passed in 1938, the FLSA established the forty-hour work week, guaranteed time-and-a-half overtime pay, and set a national minimum wage. Child labor laws were also established, prohibiting most minors from the workplace. Since then, many amendments have been added to adjust to the needs of all workers, regardless of whether they’re employed in the private or public sector.
One of the most significant amendments to the FLSA was the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Better known by the familiar phrase “equal pay for equal work”, this law requires employers with similar job duties be paid an equal wage regardless of their individual sex. Despite these laws, some employers still operate on the idea that men should be paid more than women, simply because they are men. When they act on this idea, it undermines the spirit of equality at the heart of our democracy. It is also illegal.
In California, the labor laws cover both citizens and immigrants. The California Labor Code regulates minimum wage, prevailing wage, over-time pay, vacation and sick pay, as well as meal and rest periods. As of January 1st, 2016, the minimum wage in California is $10 per hour. The minimum wage in Colorado is $8.31 per hour. The law also states that any hours worked beyond eight hours per day are considered overtime.
Misclassified Employee Status and Misclassified Independent Contractors
The overtime laws in each state are unique, and this especially holds true for California and Colorado. Some companies may take advantage of the loopholes in federal and state laws, misclassifying employees to avoid having to pay overtime wages. Many employees believe that if their employer pays them a salary, they then are not entitled to any overtime. This is often incorrect, as many employees are “non-exempt” employees entitled to overtime, despite being misclassified as exempt by their employers. Misclassification of non-exempt employees is another example of employers attempting to take advantage of employees by working them for longer hours without any additional compensation.
Being misclassified as an independent contractor can be costly to both you and your employer. In addition to being ineligible for protections under the labor code and healthcare benefits, you could have to pay Medicare and Social Security taxes out of pocket, and be ineligible for unemployment benefits should you lose your position.
The best way to tell if you’ve been misclassified is by looking at your paycheck. If the state and federal taxes aren’t being withheld, or your over-time hours are not being paid, you may have been misclassified. This is common when the employer has classified you as an independent contractor, rather than as a traditional W-2 employee. Remember, just because your employer calls you an independent contractor that does not necessarily mean that you are. There are many factors that determine whether you’ve been properly classified as an exempt or non-exempt employee under the law. The attorneys at Skilling O’Leary will discuss your individual circumstances to determine whether you’ve been misclassified and potentially owed compensation from the employer.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
The FLSA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage-Hour Division. If you suspect your employer is violating your rights, you may be able to file a wage and hour claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). While state labor laws are similar to the federal laws, there are differences. A knowledgeable labor law attorney will be able to inform you of all your legal options. At Skilling O’Leary, we understand the nuances of wage and hour laws, and the methods to counter excuses employers use to cover their unethical business practices.
Free Case Evaluation
If you feel you have a wage and hour claim, please do not hesitate to contact us. There are specific time limits for wage/hour claims, and you could lose your right to file if you do not do so on time.
Every one of us has the right to fair pay for fair work. We’d like to help you seek the justice and respect you deserve. Contact us today by calling (619) 500-4027 or (720) 330-9000 for a free case evaluation and learn your next legal steps.